Rustic Wedding Style Guide
You want a wedding that feels warm and comfortable but also stylish and classy. Natural, yet beautifully detailed. Personal but with a nod to tradition. And, of course, downright fun. Chances are a “rustic chic” theme would be a great fit for your fête.
Leslie Lukas of Montana-based Leslie Lukas Weddings & Events defines the rustic chic aesthetic as a casually elegant and eclectic mix of old and new, brought together with a homespun vibe. “Martha Stewart, I feel, was the first to make it popular in the late ’90s, bringing that casually elegant twist to ‘fancy,’” Lukas says. “It has swept the nation, and [it has] been prevalent here in the mountain states for about 10 years. The non-stuffy wedding, I call it.”
Maggie Lord, founder of RusticWeddingChic.com and author of “Rustic Wedding Chic” (Gibbs Smith, 2012), further describes the theme as mixing natural, raw and woodsy elements with more refined and polished details. Couples are particularly drawn to this wedding style because it’s easy to make it your own depending on personal taste and geographic location, she says.
“Everything from vintage to country to backyard weddings could be put under the umbrella term of ‘rustic chic.’”
Barns and fields are natural settings for a rustic chic wedding, but they certainly aren’t a requirement. To get the vibe even if your venue is more town than country, Lord suggests decking out your décor with birch candleholders and vases, lace table runners and mismatched vintage china, glassware and/or silver.
Lukas also likes a mix of simple, farmers market-style bunches of flowers, lots of candles, and touches of twine and burlap, as well as incorporating mason jars, old crates and galvanized metal. Muted hues like cream, grays, dusty rose, jade and soft gold are often a good fit, as are wood accents (signs, table runners, chargers) and unique lighting, such as paper lanterns or antique chandeliers.
Give guests a night to remember with a rollicking contra or bluegrass band and rustic-themed photo booth. Then Lord suggests sending them home with favors featuring local flavors like jam, honey, maple syrup or granola.
When it comes to fashion, don’t think you have to forgo an elegant gown (or veil) just because you’re having a more rustic-style wedding, says Lord. She notes that designers Jenny Packham and Claire Pettibone are making dresses that are both gorgeous and appropriate for the vibe, while Lukas suggests looking to fashion-forward (and often more affordable) lines like BHLDN and J. Crew. Don’t make it complicated, Lukas says.
“Take a very traditional, plain dress, throw on a stunning bib necklace and cowboy boots, and call it good. Simple hair styles, turquoise jewelry, brooches and bracelets will also add rustic charm.”
For your rustic chic bridesmaids, prints (stripes, dots, flowers) are fair game, as is letting your ladies pick the style that suits them best within a particular palette, says Lord. And there are numerous options for the men, adds Lukas, from light grey or tan suits with a great tie, to the no-jacket/open shirt approach, to suspenders, bow ties, fun socks, boots or sneakers and more. “The true key to a rustic chic wedding,” says Lukas, “is being authentic.”